KUCHING, Oct 23: Sarawak Energy has continued to expound Sarawak’s sustainable energy development story at the recent Clean Power New Energy Conference 2021 with national and regional industry leaders and policy makers.
Its Group CEO Datu Haji Sharbini Suhaili shared the aspirations, initiatives, and contributions of Malaysia’s largest renewable energy developer and provider in building a shared sustainable energy future.
At the virtual event themed ;Embarking New Path Towards Future Sustainable Energy; held from Oct 12 to 13, he delivered the keynote speech which kicked off after an opening address by British High Commissioner to Malaysia His Excellency Charles Hay.
The High Commissioner commended Sarawak Energy for being an early mover amongst Malaysian companies in joining the Race to Zero and contribution to reducing carbon emissions. Race to Zero is a UN-backed global campaign rallying non-state actors including businesses, cities, regions, and investors to halve global emissions by 2030.
Highlighting the role of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) in the State’s energy transition over a decade ago, Sharbini also shared how this strategy and hydropower development was an enabler to many achievements.
“Since the launch of SCORE in 2008, we began to take a holistic view of energy development to balance energy security, sustainability and affordability to drive socio-economic transformation and harnessing hydropower was the ideal option to realise this.
“Our generation mix has evolved from being primarily fossil fuel to predominantly renewable hydropower, supplemented by gas, indigenous coal, off grid diesel and alternative energy for energy security,” he said.
Aside from being an abundant indigenous source of energy, renewable hydropower has resulted in Sarawak being able to offer customers among the most competitive average unsubsidised tariff in the region and decarbonise its power system with a reduction of over 70% in carbon emissions intensity from 2010 to 2020.
Sharbini noted rural electrification has grown from 56% in 2009 to an expected 97% rural electrification by end 2021 while SCORE has enabled Sarawak to position itself as the battery of the ASEAN region and progress its ambition of spearheading the Borneo Grid.
Sarawak Energy has since been recognised as an important voice of sustainable hydropower development worldwide despite being relatively a smaller organisation from the island of Borneo.
“We are aligned with the San Jose Declaration on Sustainable Hydropower’s principles which was recently launched at the World Hydropower Congress 2021, committing to the principles that sustainable hydropower delivers ongoing benefits to communities, livelihoods and the climate, the only acceptable hydropower is sustainable hydropower, and sustainable hydropower requires stakeholders to work together.”
Sarawak Energy’s hydropower plants are developed in accordance with the International Hydropower Association (IHA) Sustainability Assessment Protocol and the International Commission On Large Dams (ICOLD) guidelines.
Sharbini said the company is also exploring alternative clean energy pathways with other renewables like green hydrogen which is primarily aimed at greening Sarawak’s transportation sector.
While solar power is utilised to provide micro-grids to light up Sarawak’s remote hinterland villages, Sarawak Energy is also integrating large scale solar, beginning with a 50MW floating solar on the Batang Ai HEP reservoir, increasing the proportion of alternative renewable energy in Sarawak’s generation mix.
Meanwhile, also speaking at the event were Sarawak Energy’s generation arm, SEB Power CEO James Ung and Sarawak Energy Vice President for Rural Electrification Dr Chen Shiun.
Ung participated in a panel discussion on ‘Advancing Malaysia’s Energy Transformation from the Present to the Future’ where he explained the advantages of hydropower within Sarawak’s context and how this has catalysed Sarawak Energy’s transformation and prominence in the renewable energy sector.
He also spoke on the company sharing its renewable energy resources with its neighbours through power grid interconnections.
Dr Chen was in a fireside chat themed ‘Clean Power & New Energy Predictions in 2021 & Beyond’, during which he emphasised that aside from having relevant policies, support and demand from society and all sectors particularly financial institutions were essential in pushing for clean power and new energy.
He also talked about how crucial it was to balance affordability, reliability and sustainability in renewable energy development which varies from country to country and even localities depending on economic viability and respective needs. — DayakDaily